Why have you not bought this yet Wednesday (Thursday)…

Once again, I have neglected our weekly topic to plug something we’ve fallen in love with. And I have to admit that I spent quite a bit of time trying to think of something because there are so many things that I really love.

I’ve decided to look at the Cyclone Cup. Cyclone Cup  This product came a couple of months ago in one of my WODBOM boxes and it quickly became my favorite shaker cup!

The cup has a small base for storing the protein powder. The top has a cone-shaped “thing” to ensure the powder mixes well. The water portion of the cup holds 20oz and is clearly marked so you can get the amount of water you need.

I use this regularly and I have NEVER had the powder clump, which often happens with the shakers that use the metal ball. And since I usually buy the cheaper powders, getting is mixed is important.

And while I LOVE this bottle, I do have two minor issues with it:

1. The powder cup only holds enough for one scoop of powder. Someone who needed 2 scoops for their serving size is SOL or is mixing two drinks. As I only use one scoop, it’s fine for me, but I can imagine I would be annoyed if my portion size was 2 and I needed to make 2 shakes.

2. The way the lid works means you can only drink from the bottle from one direction. You cannot rotate the cup to drink from a different portion. And since you have just shaken the contents, the portion that covers the drinking hole has some liquid in it. The first time I used the cup, it dripped in my eye. I quickly learned to lick the lid!

I do feel this is a quality product. It’s dishwasher safe, effectively shakes up the powder and comes in a wide variety of colors! If you use protein powders regularly, it’s a good product.

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WHYN(D)TYW

Okay, I’m switching it up from went have you not bought this to why have you not downloaded this yet??!!

I am terrible about drinking enough water in a day.  Terrible!  When I used to work on the unit, it was not unusual for me to go a full 12 hour shift drinking a medium coffee at the beginning and some sort of sugary beverage in the middle and then an alcoholic beverage at the end of the day.  Terrible!

Then my friend @scaledtoperfection introduced me to the app “Plant Nanny”.  It’s a free app that you helps you track your water intake.  You can add containers of different sizes (mine is set up for my 500mL water bottle at work). Each time you finish the container, you water your adorable, bouncing plant that you are trying to keep alive. Here’s my current project:

screenshot_2016-09-21-19-02-37

Adorable. Plus, it has helped me tremendously to increase my water intake to a healthy level.

Go forth and download!  Enjoy!

 

Benefit From Your Benefits

I’m spicing things up with a little work talk.  Well, not work specifically but benefits you get through work.  I can’t express to you enough to go out and explore your benefits and see what exactly is available.

Some benefits are hidden and may take some time to dig around.  Blue Cross/blue shield has some amazing programs such as the New Moms Program that helps educates women during pregnancy and even includes a post-partum depression screening. If you complete the visits you not only gain a lot of knowledge about what your body is going through, you also get gift cards at every visit completion!  BC/BS also offers a gym membership that is basically universal…. You sign up and you can use the card at any gym on the network (FOR FREE!!!). In Wooster, the network gyms are 24 hour fitness, health point, and the Y!  I’m only a 3-4 day a week crossfitter so it’s great to be able to have a 24 hour gym membership in case I can’t make it on time to class or to use on my days off to get my box jumps (really, it’s going to happen one day).

Another great benefit I found through the hospital where I work. As an employee, Summa offers dietician services for $4 per week.  This includes review of your eating habits, a sit-down session with a registered dietician, and advice every single week!  I was thrilled to sign up for the program.  I have my accountability in the gym (thanks, friends) and now I will have accountability in the kitchen.  So far I’ve gotten a lot of great advice.. I’m paying a lot more attention to my macros and I’m learning a lot from the expert about how to fuel my body for the every day.

So, go out and explore your benefits!  You never know what might be waiting to be discovered!

 

 

 

 

 

When does this get easier?

I actually asked this of one of my coaches a few months ago and he laughed and said ‘never’. It’s taken me quite some time to ponder what he meant by this and I think I finally found my answer.

It really never gets easier. Yes, you might acquire a move that you’ve been struggling with (damn you double unders) and that might make a particular workout easier for you, or at least make you happier with your performance in that workout. You might find that several days go by and you are crushing the WODs because they happened to have several moves that you like and/or are really good at doing. Maybe you have recovered from an injury and can now move without pain and are no longer having to modify the moves, and so that makes things seem easier.

All of those things are great, but they really aren’t what I meant when I asked that question. I think what I meant was “when do I get to feel like I’m not struggling ALL THE DAMN TIME”?

Before I answer this…I had the pleasure of watching several of the coaches at my box compete this past weekend. Seeing the control they have over their bodies, their strength, style and grace was truly an inspirational thing. Toward the end of one of the workouts, one of the coaches was doing the clean and jerk at 305 pounds. He cleaned it like he was holding feathers and then FAILED IN THE JERK. I’d never seen him fail at anything. He shrugged it off and continued the rest of the WOD, pounding out 52 unbroken hand-stand push-ups like they were nothing. He posted the video of himself failing to the box’s Facebook page with the caption “there is always more work to be done”.

That’s when it hit me. It NEVER gets easier. You DO get stronger. You DO master moves. You DO learn new skills. You DO get to add more weight. But if a workout is “easy”, you didn’t workout hard enough, or you didn’t have enough weight on the bar. There will ALWAYS be something you can do to improve a move, your speed, or your skills. Maybe you can do toes-to-bar (I’m jealous if you can), but you require a lot of kipping right now. So to make things easier, you work on using less motion, improving your efficiency. This means that you can do them faster, or do more of them. That doesn’t mean they are easy; you make it harder by doing them faster or more in a row because you are moving more efficiently.

So my coach is right. It shouldn’t get easier. I should get more efficient, so I can work harder, faster, longer, stronger!

Why Have you not Bought This Yet Wednesday (Thursday).

Ooops…I let time slip away and missed our Wednesday special! I was pondering all week what I would talk about and my “partner in crime” (@osuelf) came up with the idea of entering a competition. Which is a GREAT idea; so here I am to try to convince you that you should enter a competition once in your CrossFit life.

I know, I know…not everyone has a desire to compete and I generally get that. But last year (about this time in fact), my blogging partner and another two athletes from our gym signed up for our very first ever competition. It was a women’s scaled division and it was outdoors, in 45 degree F weather in a day that rained more than it didn’t. So we were cold, wet and miserable anytime we weren’t competing. The WODs were tough, but doable and I left that day feeling like a million bucks for getting out there and competing.

Since you will ask … we came in last. I don’t know our scores compared to the other teams, but none of us had competed, one of us was barely 18, two of us would have been qualified for the Master’s category and one had a baby 3 months prior to the event. I’m not making excuses for our placement. Because honestly, I don’t even care about that.

Here’s why you should compete at some point. There is an adrenaline factor at a competition that is tough to duplicate on a daily basis in the box. You somehow find it in yourself to dig just a little deeper, move just a bit longer, just a bit faster. At least I did. One of the events involved a short sprint (maybe 50m) and one of my coaches said he’d never seen me run that fast before! So even the coaches and judges can learn things about their athlete’s abilities. I’ve read numerous stories about athletes getting their first toes-to-bar or first (insert movement) at a competition because adrenaline will enable you to dig just a bit deeper. Since you are already putting yourself out there just to compete, you might as well go ahead and TRY a move that you avoid at the box, simply because you’ve never done it before, or you get stuck in a comfort zone, or you get the phrase, “I can’t do that” stuck in your head.

I’m calling the year of 2016 the “Year of the Competitions” for me. I’ve done nearly one every month of the year (there wasn’t anything in May, but I did two in June) and I was signed up for one in September, but injured my shoulder, so my coach pulled me, reminding me that I was in this CrossFit game for the long haul.  But I have to admit, I’m HOOKED on the anticipation, the adrenaline, the nerves and the cheering for EVERYONE that goes on at these competitions. One per month might have been too much for my 48-year old self. But I plan to contintue to compete, volunteer, or otherwise be involved in as many as I can from here on out.

Am I interested in competing at The CrossFit Games as a Master’s athlete? No. I know I’m not THAT good. But I do like the feelings that arise at a competition. You can’t get those feelings anywhere else. So get out there; compete with all your heart and care not about your final score!

Goalz….Do you NEED them?

We all have goals. Graduate high school, get a job, go to college, graduate college, get a job, get promoted etc etc etc. Our lives have probably revolved around goals from the time we were little and our families asked things like, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” That seemingly innocent question starts the tiny human down the road to goals.

Goals are actually a great motivator. If you currently can’t do something, stating that you want to do the thing and then creating a plan to do the thing can help solidify in your mind that you will one day do the thing. If you talk to just about every top athlete in any sport, they say they visualize their path to winning before it happens.

What if you are not an elite athlete? You are just a regular schmo trying to get a little better, trying to make sure your body is still functional at 60? Do you still need goals? I would argue that yes, you too, need goals (if you prefer: goalz).

Why do you need goalz? Humans are very goal oriented. We love to be rewarded for doing the things. The rewards don’t have to be complicated either. If you play video games, how many times have you gotten stuck and had to do just this one part several times before you could move on? It became a goal and you stuck with it and did it. What was the reward? Getting to an even harder part and continuing to play the game! Why do we practice something? Because we can’t currently do that something, or do it very well, and we want to get better. So we practice the piano, practice shuffling cards, practice whistling. All things that are certainly not a survival skill per se, but if you can’t do them and you WANT to do them, practicing will help you attain that goal! Do you want to be able to do double unders? You need to practice doing double unders. Yes, mastering the single is imperative, but once you can do singles, practicing singles only makes you better at singles; it doesn’t help you learn doubles. Same if you have doubles, and want triples…everything is always a scaled version of something else. {For those of you with triples, here is your next goal: Jump Rope mastery

How many goalz do you need? I can’t really answer that. For some people, one goal is enough. They work to attain that, and when they do, they find another goal. Others may have several goalz in mind. Some might have 3 CrossFit goals, 2 work goalz and 4 family goals. Only you can decide what is right for you. I have 4 basic CrossFit goalz that I outlined for 2016 and it looks like all four will be on my 2017 goal list as well (a shoulder injury is NOT helping matters here). I’m bummed by this, but also recognize that I need to work at my own pace, and not anyone else’s pace.

So, set a goal. Heck, set several goalz. Work hard to smash them. Then set more goalz!

Why Have you Not Bought this Yet Wednesday

Having a holiday at the beginning of the week really throws off all kinds of things, workouts, eating, work schedules! But my delight at reviewing a product I’ve fallen in love with hasn’t been thrown off. And for this week, I’m going to review the TENS 7000 machine.

TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (You can find more information on their functioning etc HERE.) The web site says it’s for pain management and  works by sending a very mild electrical shock (“stimulation”) to the affected area. It can be used for short periods (20 min) to help reduce pain to muscles and joints. And I am here to tell you that it’s FANTASTIC!

The machine comes with 4 little, sticky pads which are connected to the machine by wires long enough to sit comfortably while the unit sits on your desk or table. It is very easy to use, the wires plug into the top, just like headphones. The amount of stimulation can be increased or lowered based on personal preference. The one I bought has 4 different settings: regular, pulse, burst, or modulation and also comes with a timer, so you don’t have to think about timing it yourself!

If I have one complaint, it’s that the unit doesn’t come with a poster or booklet to help with electrode placement. There is information on their website and a quick Google search turned up a LOT of pictures of placements for various joints and muscles.

I’ve used the unit several times on my shoulder and twice on my knee and it really does help reduce the pain for several hours after the treatment ends. Their website says it can be safely used up to 4x per day for chronic pain. A search of several pain forums indicates there are people out there using is almost all day long, mostly for back pain. I poked around a lot of physical therapy sites and all say no more than 30 minutes at a time. The chiropractor who works with the athletes at my box says no more than 20 minutes at a time.

I will close with our usual mantra on these products: we aren’t doctors; we aren’t physical therapists and I have no medical training (my partner in “crime” does!). I do know that for me, it was a well spent $35 (look on Amazon) that has helped me mitigate minor joint and muscle pain.